News

A small flower has big reward for Laidley gardeners

IN FULL BLOOM: Shirley and Alan Small have developed an award-winning garden at their home in Laidley.
IN FULL BLOOM: Shirley and Alan Small have developed an award-winning garden at their home in Laidley. Ali Kuchel

A FROZEN bottle of water planted upside down in the soil was what got Alan and Shirley Small's garden through the harsh summer conditions.

Plants were feeling the strain of the heat, and Shirley says it's a trick they've used to keep a constant trickle of cool water to the plants on a hot day.

"You'd water overnight so they could rejuvenate but in the morning they'd all be wilted,” Shirley said.

But moving on from the heat, Alan and Shirley are now preparing their garden and orchards for the upcoming autumn and winter conditions ahead of the spring festival.

"I don't plant things until the end of May or beginning of June,” Shirley said.

"Because if we start and have a warm winter, everything will bloom quickly.

"You've sort of got to have everything start flowering in the second last weekend of August.”

Alan and Shirley are no strangers to garden competitions.

Prior to moving to Laidley 11 years ago, they lived in Gladstone and of course, they had a garden.

Shirley and Alan Small have developed a beautiful garden in Laidley.
Shirley and Alan Small have developed a beautiful garden in Laidley. Ali Kuchel

They purchased their block of land where they currently live and built a home, originally for their son while he was at uni.

But travelling from Gladstone to Laidley every six or so weeks, Alan and Shirley soon found themselves creating a garden.

They started with mango trees and Shirley discovered she could grow some of her favourite plants which didn't take to the central Queensland conditions.

They currently have about half an acre which is entered in Lockyer Valley garden competition, and the rest is orchards, boasting more than 50 mango trees, stone fruits, peaches, nectarines, plums and olives.

But you'll never see a red plant in their garden.

"I just have a dislike of red, in other gardens it looks good and I appreciate that colour when I go into another garden,” Shirley said.

"But I couldn't have red plants in my garden.”

Shirley and Alan Small in their Laidley Garden.
Shirley and Alan Small in their Laidley Garden. Ali Kuchel

Alan and Shirley spend about four to five hours in the garden every day and in summer they're often out until after dark.

Alan is the chief labourer and Shirley chooses the plants and colours - most of which boast strong pastel colours or hot pinks and blues.

"When it's time for the garden competition, Shirley colour plants,” Alan said.

"She has a certain taste for what colour goes where.”

But it's the love of gardening and achieving something that inspires Alan and Shirley.

"If you get frustrated it's good to get out into the garden and dig - then it disappears,” Shirley said. Shirley said just to get out and water (the garden) was relaxing.

Topics:  gardening laidley lockyer valley


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Local Partners

Anthony LaPaglia steps out with new fiancee

Screen legend Anthony LaPaglia has confirmed his engagement to his much younger girlfriend, Alexandra Henkel

Ronan Keating a dad for fourth time

Ronan Keating and Storm Keating.

Bouncing baby boy for Boyzone star

Lion King remake well under way

Seth Rogen.

More Lion King remake cast members revealed

Splendour auctions VIP passes for flood appeal

Crowd at Splendour in the Grass 2016.  Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Each pass will have a reserve price of $500

The pic that could cost Khloe Kardashian $200k

Khloe Kardashian has admitted she "loves" watching porn, but doesn't think her family are famous purely because of her sister Kim Kardashian West's sex tape.

Khloe Kardashian has been slapped with a $A200,750 lawsuit

Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme dies

Director Jonathan Demme, 73, has died of cancer. He is pictured here attending the premiere of "Song One" in New York.

TRIBUTES have poured in for the Oscar-winning director.

Falling rents could spell doom for housing prices

What if I told you housing in Australia was getting cheaper?

Couple gets rich renovating run-down city homes

RENO RADICALS: Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall have turned three Toowoomba homes around for profit, saying the Garden City was a haven for renovators like themselves.

The couple has already turned around three homes

Townhouse pitch raises questions over 'high density'

BIG PLANS: Residents have a chance to offer their opinion on plans to build 42 townhouses at Raceview.

Developer plans 42 townhouses for Ipswich suburb

7 million dollar city homes for sale right now

3 Keira Court, Blue Mountain Heights.

Here are seven of Toowoomba's best, and most expensive, houses

'Raping and pillaging': Landlord's anger with nightmare cost

Chris Duane, who is chairman of the body corporate for Terralina Court, says insurance companies are charging too much for premiums.

BODY corporate boss unleashes on huge costs dumped on home owners.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!